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a day ago by tristor

This doesn't surprise me in the least. The DoD and all of its sub-departments, is exempt from EPA regulations. There is no driving force to make more efficient and less polluting military equipment other than the desire to improve logistics or reduce costs. Considering that the military gets preferential pricing on its fuel purchases compared to typical civilian markets, it doesn't have any of the standard market or regulatory pressures to contend with which motivate innovations focused on energy efficiency.

When a contractor is designing a new weapons platform, they focus exclusively on other factors of design, energy efficiency essentially isn't even a consideration as long as it can be refueled mid-mission.

But really, if we want to discuss the US military and the environment, their carbon footprint is the least of my concerns. A bigger concern for me is how they've improperly handled and disposed of MASSIVE quantities of toxic waste over the years and continue to do so. One report I read concluded that nearly half of all PFOAs and PFOSs in the water systems in the continental US originated from military base runoff from them simply dumping expired/excess firefighting chemicals on the ground into open trenches.

Basically every US military base inside the US is a superfund site the moment it is fully decommissioned and turned over to non-DoD control. That should tell you something. Carbon footprints aren't meaningless, but they're nearly so, compared to the far worse forms of pollution the US military does routinely that directly impacts everyone that lives nearby (I live in "Military City, USA", ask me about water quality here...).

a day ago by mandmandam

> The DoD and all of its sub-departments, is exempt from EPA regulations

Ho-ly shit. I mean I know blatant corruption is basically under ever political rock ever everywhere, but that is... wow.

a day ago by tristor

Honestly, I thought this was common knowledge. I don't see it as a form of corruption, it was encoded into law primarily because most environmental regulations were passed in the midst of the Cold War. As a country, at that time, we didn't want to do anything which might impede the progress of military advancement and force superiority, which meant that national security concerns utterly trumped newly formulated (and somewhat hotly contested) environmental regulations. I don't think there were any backroom deals involved, I believe all parties, including the staunchest supporters of these regulations at the time, were in support of military exemption.

a day ago by mandmandam

The Cold War which ended 3 decades ago yes? There wasn't some other Cold War necessitating wanton environmental destruction that I missed?

... As a country, at this time, there is no excuse for this exemption remaining on the books, none, none at all.

a day ago by abduhl

This is not corruption, this is as designed. The DoD's mission is national security and Congress has determined that national security trumps environmental protections which, to be quite honest, are mostly procedural hurdles put in place to slow down innovation and progress.

The question is whether or not we should hinder our ability to protect ourselves from external (and internal at this point) enemies in order to (possibly) protect the environment. Congress has decided that we shouldn't. You can, of course, come to a different conclusion, but I doubt Congress ever will.

a day ago by zdragnar

I will concede that incorrectly handling waste is bad, and shouldn't be tolerated.

On thr other hand, I am amused some people seem to think armored tanks should be getting 35mpg...

a day ago by dekhn

Are you referring to this: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/40/89.908 or is there another law which regulates DOD/EPA? The reason I ask is that the EPA does regulate DOD's cleanup activities (https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/environmental-challenge-mili...)

a day ago by tristor

CERCLA, DERP, FUDS, and other programs all relate to clean-up after the fact, they don't control how the military handles hazardous waste while a base is active or under activated conditions. As I pointed out, nearly all the closed military bases that were shut down through BRAC (around 350) after the Cold War ended are now on the SuperFund list (which is administered under CERCLA). All the older FUDS sites were converted to SuperFund sites if they hadn't finished cleanup (most hadn't).

One specific example that's local and relevant to me was the shut down of Kelly Air Force Base as part of BRAC, and the dumping of firefighting chemicals for aviation fires that contained PFOAs and PFOSs that contaminated local groundwater: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2019/09/26/last...

Kelly was closed under BRAC in 1995, and then partially re-opened in 2001 through BRAC as a re-alignment to become Kelly Field, part of JBSA Lackland (previously Lackland AFB). During the closure in 1995, firefighting chemicals which contain toxic PCBs, including PFOA and PFOS, were dumped directly onto the ground where they ran off into the Leon Creek watershed, and still cause the waters to be toxic for swimming, fishing, or drinking today... that watershed feeds drinking water supplies for a significant portion of the city, a portion that happens to be one of the poorest areas of the city. Most of the firefighting chemicals dumped were from the 1970s but were still stored "just in case" until the base got BRACed and then they dumped them... in the 90s, well after PFOA and PFOS were established to be toxic (although the case against Dupont surrounding them was still ongoing and undecided until 2005).

So yeah, the Air Force and EPA have committed to a clean-up. Fantastic. No ETA, and the reality is that it's /extremely/ difficult to filter PFOA and PFOS out of water, even reverse osmosis isn't 100% effective. Meanwhile there are hundreds of thousands of people who are drinking contaminated water, swimming in contaminated streams, ponds, and lakes, and being exposed to contaminated fish.

Being obligated to do a clean-up "eventually" is not the same thing as being regulated from doing the dumping of toxic waste in the first place. That's my point.

a day ago by ashtonkem

I did the math on this a while ago, and I think it came out to the US Army alone consuming 1% of the world’s oil production in just oil. This was just straight oil into vehicle gas tanks, and didn’t even include whatever fossil fuels might be used to produce all the electricity that they also use.

a day ago by thinkcontext

I believe the Air Force is the biggest energy consumer. They consume 10% of US aviation fuel, which is staggering to consider.


a day ago by wait_a_minute

Please submit it to peer review along with your comparisons of Chinese and Russian spend and the consequences of either of those being the new world police if the USA just stopped doing its thing because of needing to consume 1% of the oil production.

a day ago by ashtonkem

I believe you’ve just made up an argument you thought I was making. This is quite annoying, please stop.

a day ago by wait_a_minute

I did not make up anything. I asked you kindly to provide your incredible findings on US military oil expenditures, and the relevant comparisons with other nations like Russia and China, ideally for peer review in a qualified journal or a public blog.

a day ago by undefined
2 days ago by wait_a_minute

It also has most of the free world as its customer and if it didn’t exist then China or Russia would be determining what you can post on here.

a day ago by ashtonkem

That’s a good theory, now see what happens if your democratically elected government tries to loosen copyright restrictions.

The US regularly flexes it’s might over friend and neutral country alike in order to protect its perceived economic interests. This means that you’re only free in so much as you’re already aligned with what the US wants.

Better than China, sure. But not great.

a day ago by wait_a_minute

Every nation that has ever existed or will ever exist flexes for economic interests. This is not exactly a meaningful criticism to make, because which contender is free of it? None of them. If anything they’re all far worse.

So what value does it bring to the table to work towards stunting the USA’s military capabilities, besides to boost China and Russia?

a day ago by scollet

It sounds like you have a stake in the matter, otherwise assuming jingoism.

Whatever your reasoning, having foreign interests, the means to assertion, and reducing carbon footprint are all issues that can be aligned.

It's not really helpful to conflate them all unless you're dog-whistling. Fear is not a good motivator.

a day ago by saiya-jin

That's strawman argument if not mistaken. I can understand why many US persons would think that way, but let's say 95% of the mankind (aka anybody living outside US) mostly disagrees with it.

a day ago by undefined
a day ago by FredPret

> Better than China, sure. But not great.

Try a hell of a lot better, in every way. Also better than any other empire in human history, and not by a little bit either.

a day ago by ashtonkem

That depends on whom you ask.

If you’re European, I’m sure you’d agree emphatically with this statement. If you’re a Chilean who lived under Pinochet you might have some reservations about that statement.

a day ago by scoopertrooper

I must have forgotten about that time America sent its gun boats in to depose a democratically elected government over a disagreement about copyright law.

a day ago by ashtonkem

Don’t be silly; there are multiple ways to strong arm another country well and short of full invasion.

My point is more a response to the world being free because of America. America acts like an imperial power over the rest of the world. It strong arms allies into complying with its economic wishes, and it regularly overthrows weaker neutral governments for similar reasons.

Someone in South America would openly laugh at the idea that they’re free because of America, given how many democratically elected governments we’ve overthrown down there.

2 days ago by Santosh83

I would say the less authoritarian world. No place is truly free until all of us are free. We still have a long way to go.

2 days ago by wait_a_minute

I’m definitely free and my immigrant parents and grandparents who fled to the USA from an authoritarian Soviet Union shithole are also free.

So no, I will go ahead and boldly and proudly say it’s the free world. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

a day ago by onion2k

Don't let good be the enemy of great.

2 days ago by fsflover

> if it didn’t exist then China or Russia would be determining what you can post on here.

This is FUD and strawman. US military could probably be decreased by >50% without any negative consequences.

2 days ago by alexfromapex

The military should not be playing world police but having a large enough military to counter rivals is the only thing maintaining the sovereignty of the U.S. and other free nations.

a day ago by kube-system

I think some of the “world police” stuff is necessary, particularly protection to important international shipping routes. Some of these places would be lawless without it.

2 days ago by wait_a_minute

It’s really by necessity, because we all saw what happened to Hong Kong and Ukraine and what they’d like to happen to Taiwan and south Korea and basically as much territory as possible.

If the US military vanished today, Russia or China would be the world police.

a day ago by orange_joe

not exactly FUD when China already actively exerts control over out TV and Movies without military supremacy. Also the majority of the military budget goes to salary, so you couldn't reduce budget by 50% without serious consequences to our capability. The Russians and the Chinese barely spend any money at all on salaries comparatively. with each soldier costing a fraction of a single US private. [1]. Moreover, the Chinese defense budget is increasing faster than their GDP, around 8-9% per year.


2 days ago by wait_a_minute

According to who? You? I’ll go ahead and defer to the generals and admirals and the elected officials to determine true budgeting needs for the dangers abroad.

a day ago by nexuist

Eh, to claim the military is spending efficiently at this point is to claim that there is no money wasted anywhere within the DoD, which frankly is not only an unpopular position but I don't think you yourself even believe it to be the case.

50% is perhaps too high, at least to start, but I think everyone can agree that the budget should be getting smaller rather than bigger as we continue to live in peace time. I personally believe we could cut 25% of the budget with no real hit to our readiness (consider 1/7th of the budget goes to R&D[1], which while obviously important, would not stop us from being effective at peacekeeping tomorrow). I think if it came down to it, bean counters would magically find areas of waste to expel in order to preserve their expected budgets.

[1] https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/20...

2 days ago by becquerel

So you would trust the military to tell you that the military is important and should be given more money? To put it bluntly, trusting the government seems naive.

a day ago by thinkcontext

The Pentagon would like to reduce the size of the military but are thwarted from doing so by elected officials. They would like to close bases, reduce the number of aircraft carrier groups, retire obsolete weapons systems, etc but Congress intervenes.

2 days ago by InitialLastName

Do you also let the bear tell you how big your honey stockpile should be?

a day ago by swader999

Hey but at least it keeps the oil lanes open to all those authoritarian regimes we prop up. Especially when we deny our neighbors to the north a pipe.

2 days ago by ekianjo

Only if you naively cherry pick nations to make a clickbait title.

a day ago by becquerel

How is it clickbait? Nations like Morocco, Switzerland and Sweden are all industrialized nations, and not tiny enclaves no Westerner has ever heard of.

a day ago by boringg

They are tiny in their population size and I wouldn't say Morocco is a heavily industrialized nation (even though they have 30M people @ 3000 GDP/pp).

That said I believe the US military is moving towards a greener future where possible. They have invested in renewables since the aughts and are constantly looking at new technologies in the space. Actually a bit of a coveted buyer of tech if you can prove that your product is viable.

a day ago by wait_a_minute

How much are they spending on defense and will they with their current defenses be able to resist China or Russia if the US military is not around?

a day ago by undefined
2 days ago by williesleg

Not more than China and India. Get with it China bots. Try harder next time.

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